I feel surprisingly calm as I stride forward to the oche on Friday.
The scoreboard shows that I require 170.
A place amongst the pantheon of darting greats will be mine, if I can just hold my nerve.
As my opening dart lands firmly in the treble twenty I glance at my opponent and see a bead of perspiration form upon his furrowed brow.
Seconds later my second dart nestles snugly in the treble alongside my precisely delivered opener.
A deathly silence settles on the room as I focus on the little red bit in the middle of the board.
As I draw my arm back, the diamond stud securing the cuff of my crisp linen shirt sparkles as it catches the light illuminating the target before me.
Then, like a cobra striking at its prey, I release my final dart toward its intended target.
As if in slow motion, the perfectly prescribed projectile arcs through the tension-laden air.
Unerringly, the tungsten torpedo thuds firmly into the centre of the bull!
But as I turn to shake the hand of my crestfallen opponent, I am somewhat confused to see that a squadron of pigs are flying around outside the window of the darts room.
At the same moment I feel a nudge upon my shoulder and a gentle voice intoning, “Wake up Sir, it’s time to get ready for the darts.”
To my dismay I realise that, instead of bestriding the oche as did Prometheus the fires of Zeus, I have instead been dozing upon my bed in the boudoir at Bleasdale Towers.
Thus are my dreams of darting immortality dashed on the final evening of this year’s winter campaign.
Also seeing his hopes and aspirations evaporate on Friday is Stan Billington from the Kings Own. However, it turns out that victory against Gareth Bidder from Dockers ‘B’ would in itself not have been enough to secure the individual averages title.
For in the Land That Cabs Forgot, Adam Blyth from Dockers ‘A’ is safely securing the win that gives him the title for a remarkable third year on the trot. Although Lee Shewan is adjudged best on the night for the rampant visitors, also worthy of note is the splendid ten darts cameo from new signing Josh Lightowler. Dave Yates ends his season on a high for the well beaten Peripatetic Pensioners.
Another player denied a place in the sun on Friday is Dale Newton from newly crowned champions Fleetwood Cons. Both he and teammate Steve Hadgraft take the board at the Strawberry this week on level points, the latter just 99 chalks to the good after nine months of competition. Although victorious in securing both points for the Cons at 5-1, Dale can only reduce the deficit to 36 chalks.
Minutes later, man of the match Steve duly secures a hard earned place in this week’s Champion of Champions tournament with victory in the final leg. Andy Gratrix rounds off his splendid season for the Fuzzy Ducks, his 20th win saving the home side from a disheartening whitewash ahead of this Friday’s Plate Final.
Also recording a comfortable 7-1 victory on Friday are Highbury ‘A’, John Shaw effortlessly efficient in taking centre stage for the victors. Brian Wilson is a solitary success story for the Workingmens, a squad that could easily ruffle a few feathers next season.
Queens skipper Jamie Spore sees his hopes of Champ of Champs qualifications within minutes of having temporarily moved into top spot for the Beach Road Boys. Mike Tallentire it is who snatches the prize from his captain’s grasp in edging the bottom feeders ahead of visitors the Bowling Club at the halfway stage.
Sadly for the Queens, a hat trick of second half wins by Alan Jackson, Terry Beavers and top dog Mark Wilson sees the biased boys take both points, this before Harold Rees secures a last leg consolation for the befuddled basement battlers.
A splendid contest is taking place in Rossall, as the Blasted Heathens go toe to toe with visitors the Mount. With Champ of Champs qualification still undecided, an extra frisson of tension adds further interest for both sides.
An opening victory for man of the match Gavin Billington rapidly brings to an end the qualification hopes of visitor Steve Riley. Further wins for Mark Mizon and Al Morley, sees the latter move ahead of skipper Pete Hornby in the Champ of Champs race. Victory for visitors man of the match Jimmy Reilly reduces the deficit to 3-1 at the halfway stage.
Al’s position at the top of the pile lasts for as long it takes to eat a halftime chip butty, as skipper Pete Hornby secures his place on Final’s Night in maintaining the home side advantage at 4-2. However, there is to be no last night victory for the home side as Danny Ford and Champ of Champs qualifier Cavan Thake duly record a brace of wins for a hard earned share of the spoils.
Qualification is also the name of the game down Lord Street on Friday, as a Peter Fairbrother inspired Atkin Juggernaut moves smoothly into a winning position at 5-1.
Still, however to take to the oche are Highbury ‘B’ duo Andy Helsby and Anthony Rhimes. Separated by a solitary point at the top of the footballers averages, each is desperate to make it through to the Elysian Fields.
Andy it is who gets first shot at the prize in the penultimate leg. Andy it is who grabs the prize with both hands in securing his fifth best of breed award for the visitors, this before Anthony records a splendid, but ultimately fruitless victory in reducing the final deficit to 5-3.
The Femme Fatales slip to a 6-2 home defeat on Friday at home to the Cricket Club, a result that allows the visitors to leapfrog the girls in the table. Darrell Moore is best on the night for the victors, with Trish Hughes dame of the game for the vanquished.
Let us bring down the curtain on this season’s league action at Preston Street, where the home side move smoothly ahead by 3-0 against visitors the Collapsible Comrades. Back bounce the visitors with a gusto to lead 4-3, this before the aforementioned Gareth Bidder secures a point for the hosts in ending the title aspirations of Stan the Man. Mitch Blyth is best on the night for the Spirits, with Gaz Whitehead demonstrably destructive for the visitors.
See you all at the Cons on Friday.